Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified (Williams)

Release No: 12-070 Sept. 26, 2012 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. Chester L. Williams, 32, Conneaut Lake, Pa., will be buried Sept. 30, in Meadville, Pa. In late November 1950, Williams and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, known as “Task Force Faith,” were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir, in North Korea. After coming under attack, they began a fighting withdrawal to positions near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. During this withdrawal Williams went missing.

In 1953, returning Americans who had been held as prisoners of war reported that Williams had been captured by Chinese forces and died shortly thereafter as a result of exposure to the elements.

Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. service members. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the human remains were recovered from the area where Williams was last seen.

In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as radiograph, dental records and mitochondrial DNA–which matched Williams’ nephew and grand nephew.

Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials. Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.